Students in Stephanie Stoebe’s fourth-grade class at Teravista Elementary School kicked off the year by learning about police officers in an effort to get to know the men and women behind the badge.
Stoebe was curious about her students’ perceptions of police officers and decided to ask students during a whole class conversation, she said. Students will eventually complete a research project on first responders, learn about their professions and write letters to law enforcement.
“When my kids go out into the community, I want them to know that a person wearing a uniform is there to help them and keep them safe,” Stoebe said “I also want to make sure that our first responders and law enforcement personnel are seen as people, too. The more our students understand that underneath the uniform is a mom or a dad, a wife or a husband, a part-time college student or a volunteer, the more we learn that we are all more alike than we are different.”
As part of the fourth-grade curriculum, Stoebe will be teaching letter writing. Adding the component of writing to police officers, makes the lesson relevant and meaningful.
Officers at the Round Rock Police Department (RRPD) are excited to hear about the project, which aligns with the Department’s drive to build relationships in the community, said RRPD Community Affairs Officer Joseph Claypool.
“One of our biggest goals at the department is to get to know and support our community,” Claypool said, “We have several programs developed specifically to work with kids to make sure they know our job is to keep them safe.”
Once students write the letters, they will turn their assignments over to Stoebe’s longtime friend, Cynthia Vetter.
With their parents’ permission, Vetter will post the students’ letters on her Blue Lives Blog, which she started after her husband DPS Trooper Randy Vetter was shot during a traffic stop 15 years ago. Vetter and Stoebe hope the letters turn into long lasting relationships between the students and police.